Captain Sig Hansen of Discovery's The Deadliest Catch is a man. A real man.
After all, he faces unrelenting storms, 900-pound swinging crab pots and arctic temperatures for a living -- a rare find in this modern world where the biggest workplace danger is carpal tunnel.
Deadliest Catch isn't just a clever title -- 129 per 100,000 Alaskan fishermen die on the job annually, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Rough statistics. And crab fishing is the most perilous of all.
During a brief respite from his on-board duties, Captain Hansen is making his way to South Florida on August 25 for an appearance at Seminole Hollywood Casino.
Cultist caught up to ask him about his upcoming trip, handling the heat, and how he relieves stress when risking life and limb.
Cultist: So, you're going from frigid temps to boiling heat. How are you looking forward to coming to South Florida?
Captain Sig Hansen: I've been to Florida but I don't think I've been to that city (Hollywood). Well, we've had our cold winter this year that's for sure, but no, it's fine, Florida's always been good. You do kind of tend to melt in that weather when you're so used to the cold.
Have you ever fished down here?
I haven't. We've been offered a few times, but you're usually in and out in a day. We never really get to stop and smell the roses. I might bring my wife this time and spend a few days to kind of enjoy.
Given that your chosen career is so high-risk, how do you wind down when you're not out on the boat?
It's just about being glad to be home, honestly, I just shut the gate and just stick with the family. That's what it's all about for us. We have a 32-foot bayliner here in Seattle, so we do a lot of salmon fishing when there's an open season. I'm not much of a golfer, I find it kind of irritating. With all the travel we do with Discovery, it's nice just to be home and relax, just do nothing.
I know you've been doing this since you were a kid. Do you ever get sick of the business? Of fishing? Or do you still love it as much as ever?
I love it even moreso now. I think, especially with a lot of the stuff we've done -- we have our own products, a book, a video game -- you see how it is for the 9 to 5 guys who are just trying to get something on the market. You see how hard is it to make anything happen. It makes me appreciate the fishing so much more. So you see it in a whole new light.
Yeah it definitely sounds like a better gig than most people's desk jobs!
It really is. There's risk and reward. When you're fishing, you spend that time in Alaska, then when you come home you're done. I have a greater appreciation for my work now than ever.
How do you see the future of the business?
Right now we have IFQ's, individual fishing quotas, so the fishing looks very good. There's a lot more control. There used to be 250 boats, now we're down to 70. There's more crab on the grounds with less effort and that's better for sustainable fishing. Before we would take 40% of the male crab off the grounds. Now it's more like 15% -- much more conservative. Alaska's been very good about sustainable fishing.
Congrats on your recent 100th episode. Has anything changed for you about doing the show between episodes 1 and 100?
In the beginning it was just supposed to be a one-off documentary. For me, I think I've grown a lot. I have a lot more confidence, especially with speaking engagements and getting in front of a camera. Before that was not the case. It's definitely been a learning experience and it's been a lot of fun along the way. We meet a lot of nice people from a lot of different walks of life, and it's brought us to places that we never would have dreamt of.
Has it been hard adjusting to the fame?
Yes. Before, if someone recognized you, they'd come up and ask, and now they just know. I don't care if you're at an airport or wherever, they see you and they hone in, they're coming. So that was a little adjustment. It's not like when we did the show it was about fame, it was just about trying to rep your fleet and it morphed into this program that people can't get enough of. It's been Discovery's #1 program for years, and that's pretty flattering.
When do you start up again?
We've got king crab going in the middle of October. This is the third time I've had a summer off since I was 12. We went to Vegas -- that was fun, we had some company from Norway.
I'm trying to enjoy life a little more. I head up in October, like I said, do the king crab season -- I'm assuming they'll film the show again. Last winter went extra long, the season went through the middle of June. It was a tough winter.
We finally got a little decent weather in Seattle, some sun. I've gotta get used to the sun before I head down to Florida.
Captain Sig Hansen will be appearing at the Seminole Casino Hollywood on Saturday, August 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. Fans will have a chance to take a photo with Captain Hansen and score an autographed photo. Group passes are required in order to meet him and will be available at the Player's Club starting at 5 p.m. All guests must be 21 and older and a member of the Seminole Player's Club to participate.
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